Gerald R. Hoover
Brotherhood of the Fin: A Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer’s Story
When survivors began crawling up through the hole, I saw that things could get out of hand quickly. I signaled for Scott to join me and went to talk to the apparent leader.“How many in this building?”
“I don’t know, twenty-five, maybe one hundred.”
More heads popped up through the hole as I listened. We needed some control to prevent someone from being blown off the roof and to stave off panic. Scott was disconnecting from the hook when I realized we were not going to be able to rescue everyone. There were just too many.
When Scott reached me I told him, “I’m going to find as many elderly and sick as possible. Find out how many we can take.”
Jerry Hoover retired from the Coast Guard in May 2006 with more deployments than any other rescue swimmer in the history of the program. His career ended with the greatest search-and-rescue effort in the history of mankind, Katrina. In Brotherhood of the Fin, Jerry recounts his transformation from ordinary Joe to seasoned life-saving veteran.
Narrow escapes and heartbreaking life-and-death decisions are a part of every swimmer’s life. Jerry puts us in the middle of the action as we discover how he learns to overcome the fear of his own death, put mission above personal feelings, and live with the responsibility of being someone’s last hope.